Sunday, August 15, 2010

How Spent My Summer Vacation, I, part 2

Yoda-speak is just another way George Lucas has destroyed modern culture (just kidding, George. I can't remain upset with anything that features muppets).

In addition to exploring tracts of tamederness (it's like wilderness but not as wild), my family and I took in more urban pursuits. We hit Canada's Wonderland, which is a great place if you enjoy roller-coasters and an absolute paradise if you enjoy long lines of people. One piece of advice, though: don't take teenagers in a surly mood or you'll never be able to get on "that one coaster you stand up on and corkscrew," or "that other one where there's just the seats and nothing around you but the overhead track," because apparently "waiting sucks. The rides suck. This whole place sucks. Can I go sit in the van?"

Sigh. When we'd taken all we could, we strolled over to the water park and Telemachus, Cassandra, Penelope and I enjoyed the ups and downs of the wave pool while Aeneas watched our belongings and dozed off in the sun. That's about as close to a compromise that made everyone happy as we were likely to get.

From Toronto, we went to Ottawa. They have museums there. Cassandra loved the Museum of Science and Technology, which apparently is not a boring museum where you can't touch anything. She loved running around and pushing buttons and flicking switches and making things go. I can't wait to get her to the Toronto Science Center. I notice they have a Harry Potter exhibit, which is wonderful because I've been reading the first book to her and she absolutely loves the Harry Potter Lego video game.

While we were there, we also discovered a grist-mill museum along the banks of the Rideau River. Cassandra loved it too, surprising me because it was not particularly large nor particularly interactive. When I told her it was supposed to be haunted, she got so excited I thought I was going to have to drag her out of the place when they closed.

Since she enjoyed those museums so much, I decided to take her to see one in the town where I grew up. In the almost twenty years I lived within walking distance to Glanmore House, I had never visited it. Now that I'm an out-of-towner, I guess it's okay to do something touristy. It's a beautiful place, and I can't avoid using the adjective "sumptuous" whenever I think about it. As we entered, the curator handed us a scavenger hunt sheet which kept Cassandra whirling from room to room trying to find everything. The glimpse of an upper-class Canadian life during Victoria's reign fascinated me, and the realization that it had been used as a residence within my lifetime gave the whole experience an extra bit of perspective.

I sometimes think that in our rush to experience the world, a world that grows smaller as communications and travel grow simpler, we tend to appreciate the distant and the foreign over those things closer to home. In the past few weeks, I've seen a different side of the little world I've lived in my whole life and I've found it as unexpected and fascinating and captivating as I would have had I never laid eyes on it before. It's a wonderful experience, and I've been lucky to see at least some of it through the eyes of a little girl to whom the whole world is a strange and beautiful place.

I hope you've been as lucky.

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